No doubt by now you’ve heard of “the Ikea monkey”, unless of course, you were in a cave somewhere hoping to avoid the apocalypse.
For those who were in caves, first, the world is still here. Now, about a week ago, a macaque monkey wearing a shearling coat was found roaming free in the parking lot of an Ikea store in north Toronto. When she was located, the owner was given a ticket for $240 because a Toronto bylaw prohibits owning exotic pets within city limits and Darwin, the monkey, was confiscated and sent to a primate sanctuary northeast of the city.
Yesterday, the owner was in court trying to regain custody of what she refers to as “her son”. She claims this monkey is part of her family and she has video footage of her and it brushing their teeth together. Part of the argument put forth, at least in the press if not in court, is that the macaque has 93% human DNA, therefore should be treated as human (or some such thing – I can’t quite follow their logic there).
To my mind, this argument does more for the case of the sanctuary than it does for the owner’s because by stating that 93% figure she, and her husband are acknowledging that this thing isn’t human.
The judge in the case ruled that the monkey must stay at the sanctuary, and offered visitation rights to the owner, subject to certain conditions. Those conditions, as reported by the media, included no touching and that the police be present during any visits. That last was at the request of the sanctuary who worried that the owner might try something foolish should she visit. The offer was rejected by the owner. This case will be back in court early in the new year for final disposition. She has said that when she gets this creature back, she will move to Kawartha Lakes, a community about an hour east of Toronto that doesn’t have an exotic pet ban. At least they don’t yet, but according to news reports, one is on the agenda for the January council meeting.
Whether based on fact, or just a legal tactic I can’t say, but the sanctuary alleged the monkey showed signs of having been abused while in the owner’s home. There have also been reports that creatures in the care of the sanctuary are also being, or have been, abused as well.
This whole incident has me shaking my head. First, the owner is apparently a lawyer, but there is no way I’d want her defending me, basing that on her actions and statements during this whole thing. Second, it is December in southern Ontario. That means it is cold outside. So why on earth would this lady (a) take the monkey with her to Ikea and, (b) leave it in an unheated vehicle while she shopped? She claims this monkey is “her son”. Would she leave her real kids in the car with no heat while she shopped? If you’ve been to an Ikea store, you are aware there is no way on this planet you can just pop in for a couple of quick items. Because of the store layout, even a quick browse is good for at least 30 minutes. The monkey proved to be smarter than her. It got out of its cage, then the vehicle, then went searching for someplace warm.
Personal opinion: this is a monkey, an exotic pet that cannot be legally kept in the city of Toronto. Ninety-three percent DNA does not make it human. She is wasting the court’s time fighting this. As a lawyer, she should have been aware before she bought the monkey that Toronto did have this ban. I feel no sympathy for her.
Enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.
Just found this news item on the CBC News website from Dec 19. Sorry lady, but 93% human DNA does not qualify as a “little person” http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/12/19/toronto-ikea-monkey-owner-rally.html